“Are we all inmates and we just don’t know it?”

When we go down to the Durham Country jail, I am asking myself who is the inmate? I didn’t know I had a number till they scheduled a visit for me. I thought I was a visitor, but they assigned me a number. I haven’t committed a crime but they treat me like an inmate and prevent me from seeing my son. By having that website down, and having to go to the desk to schedule a visit, it is all a part of the control. That’s why there have been less and less visits.

 

How do they control visitation? By limiting access to the person that needs to come and visit the inmate. The weak will get frustrated, and act out. That limits them and they can’t come back for 30 days. They get eliminated. Then it makes room for the next person to have access to their person.

 

The jail is eliminating those who won’t fit in the system. If you can’t fit in the system you’re eliminated. Only those who know how to act and work the system get access. Those who don’t get systematically eliminated from frustrations: not knowing how to get a visit started, or keep a visit going. So that circle of visitation gets smaller. Because there are barriers, unless you know how to get around or through the barriers you are eliminated.

 

I know this because my son was on one pod and all the visitation spaces were taken. If you pay attention you learn how the jail eliminates access to visitations: through times, through the vehicle of access (ie. scheduling appointments), the number of appointments that can be taken at one time, the number of visits that can be taken. So you don’t get one.

 

On four separate occasions, I have gone down to the Durham Country Jail and scheduled a visit to see my son through the desk only to be told when I returned for my appointment that “no appointment existed.”

 

It isn’t easy because I am disabled. You don’t have anywhere to park. Sometimes its really far, especially if DPAC is having something. I have to sit down before I get there and sit down before I leave — just to have them tell me that I don’t have an appointment.

 

I am glad I am strong otherwise it would have wrecked me. I have seen other people act ugly because it has happened. I don’t say anything because I know they have my number. I know they are watching me on camera. They want me to act ugly. Un ugh, I just remain strong and go back and try it again. Next visit, I hope that it will come through, and I will get to do the actual visit.

 

But I am asking myself who is the inmate? Are we all inmates and we just don’t know it?

 

– Visitor at Durham County Jail

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